Are you seeking challenges?

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

Gever Tulley 

While there are many problems or challenges in life that I might wish to have avoided, there aren’t many outcomes of those challenges that I regret having in the quiver.  

Test yourself, not just to learn but to grow in your capacities for persistence & resilience.

Can you become the tide?

“We rise by lifting others.”

Robert Ingersoll

There is the old saying that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” What if, instead of putting your energy into rising with the tide, you spent your energy focusing on being the tide for someone else? How then would you be lifted?

Are you intelligently kind?

“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Some of the most intelligent people I know are also some of the kindest. They aren’t kind because they are smart; they are kind because they understand that we are not put on this earth to do for ourselves, but instead to do for others. So they use their intelligence to bring kindness to bear for as many people as possible.  

That’s what I admire.

Are you planting the seeds of future success today?

“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.”

David Bly

This quote is akin to having a retirement philosophy based on playing the lottery. If you do the math, it just doesn’t work. If you don’t invest, you can’t reap the returns when you need to in the future.  

To be successful means you have to choose to sacrifice. You have to put aside that shallow want and buckle down and do the work. Only then can you begin to think about the harvest.  

Where are you planting the seeds of future success today? I.E., where are you putting in the work?

Is your identity based on where you are going?

“It isn’t where you come from; it’s where you’re going that counts.”

Ella Fitzgerald

So many people choose to live their lives with labels assigned to them by their past instead of creating a new identity. The beauty of life is that we are never merely a collection of experiences and the things we have done. We all have the opportunity to be something more, to become something meaningful. So, where are you going, who do you want to become?

Are you leading?

“Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin

If those in your care have fear, they will tell you what they think you want to hear. But, unfortunately, that isn’t leadership.

Besides, if everyone agrees with you, are you truly leading?  

Discretionary effort…

“If you’re interested you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed you’ll do whatever it takes.”

John Assara

When a person is committed to something, you will put in the extra work required, no matter what it takes. I like to use the term “discretionary effort” to describe this. This is going above and beyond and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. The real question is this. What are those causes or initiatives that inspire you to do whatever it takes? Are you doing them?

Are you listening?

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”

 Doug Larson

If wisdom is the reward, what is on the other side if all you do is talk? What a shame to miss out on all that is available to learn, simply because you need to be heard…

Are you seeking freedom for self, or for others?

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Nelson Mandela

“Live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

How much of our lives do we consume worried about our freedoms? Our needs? Our wants? What percentage of time do you spend on others?  

How much should you spend?

Do you have the right numbers?

“It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies.”

Thomas Paine

A few exceptional and committed people can accomplish almost anything.  

It’s been my experience that if you double the size of the team and halve the degree of commitment, 25% of the work will be done.

Which team do you want to be part of?

A great hero makes all the difference…

“What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization.” 

Anita Roddick

I make a concerted effort not to reuse or repeat the quotes I choose each morning. But, after 23+ years, repetition will inevitably happen. In some cases, it needs to happen because the wisdom conveyed is so profound.  

I have never sent the same one twice within five days through all the years that I have been sending quotes, until today. Here is the link from my previous post based on this quote.

I choose to do this today because of an experience I had yesterday with some of our team members at Red Stag. I stopped by our marketing department and conversed with a team member about a “win” they had helped create for our business. This team member (hero) brought the heat yesterday and personified our core value, “we have positive attitudes.”  Their energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and drive profoundly impacted my day and represents greatness within our organization.  

Thank you Nikki.

How are you going to focus on the good things today?

“When you focus on the good, the good gets better.”

Unknown

Whatever you choose to focus on will be what you see in the world. If you choose good, you will see good. If you choose to see the negative, then this becomes the lens for all your experiences.  

How can you reframe today and choose to focus on the good things? Start with gratitude. What are you intensely grateful for right now, this very moment. Carry this forward into your day. Do it again tomorrow. It can change everything…

How are you choosing to steer the ship today?

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

 Gwendolyn Brooks

I was listening to a guided meditation this morning, and the instructor asked that we think back on the people that brought us to this particular moment in time. I flashed back on people and experiences that have positively influenced my life in meaningful ways. Some of these touchpoints were so minute at the moment, but over time have had an impact beyond measure. It reminded me of this verse from the book of James. ‘And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. ‘James 3:4 

We all have the opportunity to help direct the course of others, to serve and influence direction, just like the rudder on a ship. Perhaps taking a moment to reflect on how we are the harvest based on the investments others have made into us can guide the energy we seek to bring into the world today. Twenty years from now, someone will be reflecting on the difference you made in their life…

Failure is an opportunity for success…

“Focus on the possibilities for success, not on the potential for failure.”

Napoleon Hill

I believe it is essential to understand that failure WILL happen. Once you are comfortable with this fact, you can embrace the opportunities in front of you with full gusto. It doesn’t mean you ignore the potential for failure; quite the opposite. Instead, you focus on the future possibilities and seek to SOLVE for the potential failure points. The opportunity is why you keep moving; the possible failure is merely a problem to be solved.  

Are you the hero, or the guide?

“What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization.”

Anita Roddick

As leaders, there is nothing more powerful than enabling others to be their best selves and bringing all that power and influence to bear in a way that surprises even them.  

The leader is never the hero; they are merely the guide…

How are you going to use this new day?

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

There is nothing more powerful than a new day, a blank sheet of paper, a fresh start. But, unfortunately, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the grind of the day that we can create blinders that narrow our thinking in a very limiting way. 

Take today, start fresh, set aside ten minutes with an open notebook, and frame out how you want to use this precious time of your life to impact and serve.  

What new thoughts come from creating this space? What new energy can you bring to bear on the world?

What are you afraid of?

“Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.”

Samuel Johnson

What are you most afraid of? Failure? Danger? Something else? 

What scares me most is not living up to my potential and using all of the gifts and talents that God has blessed me to have.  This is what fuels me and gives me courage. What enables you?

‘ “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ “The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ “The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned. “‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. ‘ Matthew 25:14-29 

Are you ready and willing to grow?

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Fred DeVito

I have never become a better person, player, contributor, or servant by choosing the easier path. Growth only occurs when you are willing to be pushed out of your comfort zone. How are you going to push yourself today?

Are you working in your garden?

“To experience growth, you must become a conscious and committed gardener of the self. That means you must pull out all the roots of the past and plant new seeds of thought and behavior.”

Peg Streep

It can be easy to fall into the trap of pruning others and ignoring the most crucial work, improving oneself. Over time we all develop bad habits and behaviors that we wouldn’t choose for ourselves if we were picking our “best self” off a menu of desired traits.  

So, the only way to change is to prune intentionally. Where are you going to start gardening?

Is your attitude the right one for growth?

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

Oprah Winfrey

Have you made this discovery? How do you want your future to change? Is your attitude enabling your growth or limiting you?

Seek defeat in order to learn…

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Napoleon Hill

Defeat will come. It is inevitable. If you aren’t risking failure, you aren’t trying hard enough and the best learning one can ever have will likely come from loss. Perhaps that should be the goal? Push so hard that you exceed your capacities, and therefore set the stage for growth.  

These are the building blocks of sustainable success…

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Lou Holtz

Success is an outcome, and if you define being successful as doing something exceptionally well, then I would argue that it only comes when you score well on all three of these areas. The key is that you can’t be lacking in ANY area if you want to create success.  

Write down a particular goal that you want to achieve. Then look at this list and score yourself from a zero to a ten in each area. Do you have the score necessary to create the outcome you desire?  

Ability – Talent, Skill, Capability

Motivation – Desire, Passion, Inspiration

Attitude – Willingingness to learn, Ability to be wrong, Positivity in the face of adversity, Service to others, Capacity for growth, Ability to persevere through failure

It seems to me that Attitude is the great enabler of future growth. Without a good score in this area, you will always be limited.

Are you looking for the opportunity to celebrate others?

“You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.”

Jim Stovall

Do you have an inward view or an external view? If you aren’t focused outwards on the efforts of others, “we” can’t win…

Are you intensely excellent?

“Intensity is the price of excellence.”

Warren Buffett

I’ve never known anyone to be excellent at something who didn’t also have an almost supernatural intensity about themselves in that particular aspect of life.  

Perhaps excellence is the result of intensity? What are you passionately intense about?

What are you waiting for? Get after it!

“What keeps me going is goals.”

Muhammad Ali

What is your big goal for 2021? We are now at the halfway point of the year. How are you doing on that goal?  

Wait, did you even set a goal? If not, why wait until January to start? Set one now. It doesn’t have to be something that will change the world; just put one out there that you can measure and manage.  

The beauty of goals is that they get you out of bed in the morning with fervor and ready to tackle the day.  

Even if the goal is wrong, you won’t regret having set one and built a disciplined life centered on achieving your intentions. Get after it!

Where’s your time going?

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”

Peter Drucker

How much effort do you put into managing your time? Does it get the same effort and intensity that you use to manage money? If the answer is “no,” why not?  Unlike money, you can’t make more of it.

Time is finite. Spend it wisely, or you’ll get to the end of life and realize you gave up everything for nothing.

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dusty

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